In a new report to Parish Councils, Hart District Council has apparently taken the next step towards solidifying its policy of building a new town at Winchfield. In the report Hart suggests wording of a draft policy to reflect its current thinking if its strategy survives the testing process:
The Council will work with its housing market area partners to deliver 24,413 new homes across the Hart/Rushmoor/Surrey Heath Housing Market Area over the period 2011-2032. Hart’s proportion of that number is 7,534 [these figures may be subject to change if/when the SHMA is revised].
The Council has identified and allocated sufficient land to meet its needs up until 2024/2025. Thereafter, the bulk of Hart’s housing needs will be met through the development of a new settlement centered on the area that comprises Winchfield. The vision for the new settlement will be developed through a master planning exercise and will be the subject of a separate Development Plan Document.
The Council, though it’s allocations policy, will give priority to directing development to those areas where potential adverse effects can be avoided without the need for mitigation measures (i.e. those areas that lie beyond the Thames Basins Heaths Special Protection Area zone of influence [this is a Policy required of Policy NRM6 of the South East Plan.].
To deliver its housing needs the Council will seek to maximise the potential for brownfield land development where that development is appropriate to the existing character of the area, demonstrates that there is sufficient infrastructure in place to meet the needs arising from that development, and where it does not compromises other objectives, such as protecting amenity, achieving good design, the protection of important heritage assets etc.
Elsewhere, development will be strictly controlled and new development will only allowed on green field sites where the land has been allocated for development and where it enhances the sustainability of the location, demonstrates that sufficient infrastructure is, or can be put in place, to meet the needs arising from the development, and where the form and pattern of development is integrated into, and is compatible with, its surroundings.
If through Local Plan examination, and subsequent housing delivery monitoring it is demonstrated that Hart’s housing market area partners cannot reasonably meet their respective housing needs, the Council will seek to cooperate with its partners to help meet any unmet needs. This will be done through a review of the Local Plan which will assess the potential for accelerated growth of the new settlement centered on Winchfield, or the release of strategic urban extensions at **** or *****. [Options yet to be determined]
This is clearly bad news for those of us who oppose a new town and is strange given the new report highlighting the massive costs and significant barriers to delivery of a new town and new Government guidance indicating a preference for brownfield development. But in better news, Hart says it is revising the timetable for the Local Plan, saying it is planning to publish a “fully worked up draft Plan later this summer”. Hopefully, this will give an opportunity to respond to a new consultation.
If you would like to ask the council to think again, please sign and share our petition: